Symbols of Faith

Posted On May 28, 2010

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Many people that get into a new religious path want to know what kinds of symbols they can wear to show their faith. In the example of Asatru, you will notice that most people tend to wear Mjolnir or a rune pendant around their neck. Since there’s not as much information about Finnish mythology out there, some of you may wonder what you could wear. I will show you a few options that I have come across most often, starting with the symbol that most people associate with Finnish mythology(image taken from Taivaannaula’s website):

Normally you will hear this called Ukonvasara or Ukonkirves(Ukko’s hammer or Ukko’s axe). However, I have heard a couple different Finnish pagans say that it is supposed to be the world tree. I am personally of the latter position, even though the former is much more common to hear. I take this stance particularly when you see images of it such as this one:

Now tell me people, does that really look like an axe to you, or a tree?

There are other options that I have seen Finnish pagans wear rather than Ukonkirves. I think that Ukonkirves is so well-known because of its similarity to Mjolnir, and of course you see heavy metal bands wearing it. There are three other symbols that I will go into, which are more common to see Finnish pagans wearing. Most of these pictures will be from a jewelry site that I found, so I guess I’m pimping the site for them unintentionally even though I’ve never bought from there. They just have good pictures:

This one I have found to be the most common, particularly among those in Taivaannaula. It resembles a water bird(vesilintu), which is very important in Finnish cosmology. I went into cosmology in an earlier post, but birds play a very important part not only in the creation of the world, but after death where humans are said to turn into water birds while they travel through Ylinen and down to Tuonela. On a side note, one person told me that eggs are very good to give as an offering to ancestors, because it symbolizes life, which they want to remember.

Then there’s this one that I have seen not only on the cover of one of the Kalevala books, but on a few different people:

With a little help from a comment for this entry, this is called Hannunvaakuna(St. John’s Arms). This symbol was found before Christianity(despite the name used now), used as a symbol of protection from evil.

And lastly, we have the Finnish version of the sun wheel, Aurinkopyörä:

Many cultures around the world use the sun wheel as a sacred symbol, so it is no surprise that the Finns had a symbol for it as well.

Really anything could be used if you find something sacred in it or associate it with a deity or part of the cosmology. A well-known brand that sells jewelry of the symbols above and other replicas from the Iron Age is Kalevala Koru, but you’re going to shell out a lot of money there. Then there’s the link I gave above. I’m sure if you search around enough, you may come across another seller. As you can probably tell, I’ve never bought anything because I can’t afford it right now.

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4 Responses to “Symbols of Faith”

  1. Nik Gervae

    The four-sided spiral is Hannunvaakuna (St. John’s Arms). Here are some links about it:

    http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannunvaakuna (in Finnish)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_John%27s_Arms (English, not a direct translation of the above)

    And since that particular picture is from Kalevala Koru, here are their pages:

    http://www.kalevalakoru.fi/korut/kuvasto/soljet/10/1 (Finnish)
    http://www.kalevalakoru.com/jewelry/catalog/brooches/10/1 (English)

    Their description seems slightly fanciful and trite, but at least they describe it in some way. I have that as a brooch, and I also have their Korppi/Raven necklace, which I just couldn’t resist! I wanted it the second I saw it.

    I’ll definitely be checking out the other store. I find most of Kalevala Koru’s selection to be not quite fitting.

    By the way, if you manage to visit the Finnish National History Museum, you’ll find the stone age hall has a good exhibit of carved axe/hammer heads strongly resemling the Ukonkirves, with plentiful information in Finnish and English about what they might have been.

    • Christine

      Thanks for the info! I will update that information on here now.

      I know that in Eura they have a museum with all the findings from that area, with some of the replicas for sale. We didn’t have a chance to go there after Helajuhla since we had to get home, but sometime I’d like to go. I should really visit more museums in Finland.

  2. Luna Haefele

    Forgive me if this sounds at all silly, for I am still learning much about the Kalevala and Finnish symbolism… But I have been thinking that a bear would also be a lovely symbol to have as a pendant. After all, bears are quites sacred, right? I also feel a tremendous pull towards Mielikki, (who I believe in a certain version of the story) was said to have created the bear and named it her favourite animal.

    • Christine

      Indeed, the bear would be a great symbol, since the Great Bear is such an important part of the cosmology. I didn’t think about adding that, since I haven’t seen anyone around here wearing such a pendant, but you should go with what you are drawn to.

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